Science & Environment

News
4:16 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

After Oil Spill, Ships Start Moving — But Cleanup Has Just Begun

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 7:28 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Vessels are moving once again in the Houston ship channel. The waterway was closed after a barge crash over the weekend spilled thousands of gallons of oil. The Coast Guard now says the channel on the Gulf of Mexico had been cleared enough to allow barge traffic to enter and exit. Still, the cleanup of one of the world's busiest waterways, which is also a sanctuary for birds and other wildlife, continues.

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Around the Nation
4:16 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Bringing A 'Million Orchids' To Florida's Trees

The dollar orchid (Prosthechea boothiana) is among the native species soon to be planted in South Florida trees.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 7:28 pm

Researchers at a South Florida botanic garden want to return the state's orchids to their former glory.

When railroads first came to Florida in the late 1800s, the plants were among the first resources exploited. Millions of orchids were plucked and sent north as potted plants. Now, after more than a century of logging and harvesting, it's rare to find them growing in the wild here.

But if researchers at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden succeed with their Million Orchid Project, the flowers will soon bloom amid the hustle and bustle of city life.

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Krulwich Wonders...
3:32 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

You Yawn. She Doesn't Yawn Back. Uh-Oh

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 6:44 pm

You are at a table for two, sitting with your girlfriend or boyfriend, when, for no good reason (you can't help it, you didn't mean to do it), you yawn. It's a big, gaping, jaw-extending, embarrassing yawn and because you didn't cover your face, oh, God, she/he sees it. A second or two goes by, and then ... something doesn't happen. Your girlfriend/boyfriend doesn't yawn back.

Should you be alarmed?

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Shots - Health News
3:07 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Pollution From Home Stoves Kills Millions Of People Worldwide

Many people like these Tibetans in Qinghai, China, rely on indoor stoves for heating and cooking. That causes serious health problems.
Courtesy of One Earth Designs

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 4:35 pm

Air pollution has become the world's largest environmental risk, killing an estimated 7 million people in 2012, the World Health Organization says.

That means about 1 out of every 8 deaths in the world each year is due to air pollution. And half of those deaths are caused by household stoves, according to the WHO report published Tuesday.

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The Salt
12:45 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Food Giants Want 'Sustainable' Beef. But What Does That Mean?

Customers order food from a McDonald's restaurant in Des Plaines, Ill. The company has promised to start buying "verified sustainable beef" in 2016.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 3:07 pm

McDonald's made a big green splash a few months ago by announcing that it will start buying "verified sustainable" beef in 2016.

A chorus of voices responded, "What's 'verified sustainable' beef?"

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The Salt
7:33 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Can You Open A Bottle Of Wine With A Shoe? Yes, But It Ain't Pretty

My attempt at opening a wine bottle with a tennis shoe.
Maggie Starbard/NPR

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 5:31 pm

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Asia
5:22 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Can Mathematics Find Missing Malaysia Jetliner?

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 6:07 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The search for survivors on the missing Malaysian Airlines flight took a dark turn yesterday when Malaysia's prime minister said his government now believes the plane went down somewhere in the Indian Ocean and that all 239 people aboard are dead.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

They based that on a new assessment of signals sent from the aircraft to a satellite, but they can't tell exactly where the aircraft might have gone down.

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The Salt
4:13 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Carp(e) Diem: Kentucky Sends Invasive Fish To China

Commercial fisherman Ronnie Hopkins (left) and his assistant, Armondo, catch Asian carp on Lake Barkley, Ky.
Paul Rister AP

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 9:47 pm

The invasive Asian carp has now been found in 12 states and in the Great Lakes watershed, gobbling up native fish, jumping aggressively into boats and reproducing like crazy. Researchers have tried various ways to slow the spread of the fish as it prowls other waterways.

And, so far, efforts to introduce the big, bony fish to American diners haven't caught on. So now a processing plant in Kentucky is trying the latest method of Asian carp disposal: sending them to China.

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Energy
4:07 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

A Dubious Birthday For The Exxon Valdez

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 2:59 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Here's a bit of what we learned when we woke up that morning, 25 years ago today.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

JEAN COCHRAN: A Coast Guard spokesman in Juneau, Alaska says an oil tanker has run aground in an ice field 20 miles off Valdez. That's the terminus of...

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Environment
4:07 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

The Hearts Of Fish Still Bear Scars Of Oil Spilled Years Ago

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 6:46 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The spill in the Houston Ship Channel is another assault on one of the world's richest fishing grounds. The channel drains into the Gulf of Mexico and new research out today shows the Gulf's marine life is very vulnerable to the effects of oil. Much of what scientists have learned comes from studying the underwater leak of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig back in 2010. Here's NPR's Elizabeth Shogren.

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